As your green industry business grows, it becomes less and less reasonable to assume you can handle all the day-to-day management of the operation.
Don’t try be a hero by putting all the pressure on yourself to keep the ship upright. Hiring the right support staff can remove some of that pressure and help you focus on the bigger picture, like future growth or even your exit strategy.
We asked some of Spring-Green’s seasoned operations staff for their tips on hiring support staff as you scale your business. Here’s what they said.
Typically, major new hires fall into two categories: operations and customer service. In early stages of growth, operations will be your focus to keep the business moving forward. As growth stabilizes and your business matures, customer service may emerge as your biggest need.
Before making any hires, Franchise Business Consultant Tom Warfel says, assess your own strengths. Where do you most need help — and what would you prefer to continue doing yourself versus delegating to another hire?
“If you’re strong in the field but weak in the office, hire a strong office person to fill that void,” Tom says. “If you have strong administrative or clerical skills, hire someone who brings field knowledge to the table.”
Groom Existing Employees
Keep an eye on your existing staff: Employees who have been with your company for some time might be great candidates to be promoted to a manager, team leader or other role with more responsibility.
Grooming existing staff for manager roles also means less formal training once the hire is made. As employees settle into their roles with your business, they’ll gradually learn the responsibilities of their new role and gain confidence to transition into a leader on the team.
However, you decide to hire, ensure that your green industry business has grown its top-line revenue to support the hire.
Know What Traits to Look For
Hiring these integral team members, on both the operational and customer service sides, requires a bit more soul searching than hiring your seasonal employees.
Here are some traits to look for in these core support staff:
• Cultural fit: First, you need to establish what kind of culture you have (or want to have) — and think through what kind of work ethic and personality it will require to build that culture. Then, hire someone that fits that mold — and don’t compromise. You’ll never get cultural buy-in from an employee who doesn’t share your values and belief systems.
• Leadership skills: Seek out someone who’s capable of taking charge and owning their space — these intangible traits can’t be taught. If you find someone who displays these traits — you’ll know them when you meet them — and is a cultural fit, give them a chance, even if they lack green industry experience. The industry can be taught.
• Curiosity: After a time, it’s easy to spot the “fake it till you make it” candidates. You want to hire someone who’s confident but eager to learn, and transparent enough to ask questions and seek answers when they don’t know something.
• Growth mentality: Anyone you hire, particularly in the earlier stages of your business, should share your commitment to strategically growing the business. A “that’s not my job” mentality should be an immediate red flag.
Accept Changes In Your Own Role
Dave Dawson, Spring-Green’s Director of Operations, says many business owners are surprised at how their role changes after hiring support staff.
“When you’re wearing fewer hats, you can step back from the daily details and focus on the bigger picture,” Dave says. “Your focus shifts to company culture, division of responsibilities, and profitability.”
Once you’ve hired employees, the stakes are higher. You’re accountable to them — they depend on you for a paycheck, and for the tools they need to succeed. That means much of your time will be spent coaching, training, and making sure that the correct people are in place to build your company culture and keep your business on the right path.
Doing so will ultimately ensure that the customer’s experience is held to the highest possible standard — and, in turn, ensure your continued growth.
Stay Out of Their Way
“Hiring a smart person and letting them do their job is a great approach — Steve Jobs thought so, and it’s good enough for me,” Tom says. “If you’ve done your homework during the hiring process, you already know the employee you’ve brought on is fit to do the job. As long as your training process is solid, you shouldn’t need to micromanage.”, according to Dave.
After you’ve trained your new employees, prepared them to do their job, and given them the responsibilities they’re expected to fulfill, it’s time to step back and allow them to thrive.
Hiring your first support staff is a big deal, but with the right expectations and preparations in place, it’s a surefire way to take your green industry business to the next level.
Learn more about how Spring-Green can expand your lawn care services and support you as you take your business to the next level. Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com.